Sonia Wilson has sought to inspire young minds since she started volunteering with Agriculture in the Classroom-Manitoba in 2017. A Research Manager at Manitoba Canola Growers Association (MCGA), Sonia seeks to use volunteering as an opportunity to provide an education that gives students the basic understanding of agriculture in Manitoba. She hopes that AITC-M’s programs can help motivate youth to become more involved in the industry and pursue a career in the agriculture field.

Having parents that grew up on farms, Sonia had a connection to agriculture at a young age, becoming further involved in the industry through various science and biotech projects. Through her appearances at various programs, Sonia expressed that her experiences could help piece together the complex process of how goods move from farm to table.

“A basic understanding of what’s being eaten and the importance of agriculture in life, people have potentially taken for granted.”

She’s made appearances at Amazing Agriculture Adventure in both Brandon and Winnipeg, as well as classroom visits during Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month (CALM) this year. Working in the canola sector, Sonia appreciates that AITC-M mentions that canola is a Canadian crop and holds great importance in Manitoba’s ag economy.

“Sonia’s passion for agriculture and love for canola is very apparent when you watch her present. It takes a special person to engage an audience of elementary students and Sonia does it with ease!”Adelle Gervin, AITC-M Program Manager

“They highlight that canola is Canadian, and that it is a Canadian crop,” said Wilson. “When you’re driving down the highway, you see the yellow flowers, and some may not know what that is. AITC-M gives knowledge to what Manitoba farmers do and what they actually grow.”

Sonia feels that AITC-M’s programs serve as a significant touch point for students to learn about agriculture, stating that they remove the knowledge gap surrounding food and where it comes from.

“For a lot of students, the first introduction to agriculture that they ever have is key to awareness of how food is grown/produced and where it is coming from because we can be so far removed. AITC-M helps to remove the knowledge gap.”

She feels that AITC-M’s programs highlight important topics, including the significance of farming in Manitoba, food security, economics, and non-food items produced through agriculture.

“As someone from the city now involved in agriculture, it’s crucial for kids with an urban background to get involved in agriculture,” she said when asked about the importance of agriculture education.

“It’s important to have that knowledge of where food comes from to be a more knowledgeable consumer as you grow up. If you’re not in agriculture, it takes intentionality to become involved, this is where AITC-M helps.”

Providing education surrounding the basic understanding of agriculture is something Sonia believes is fundamental — she feels it is crucial to have a foundation students can build on.

“The most important thing is the basic understanding of agriculture. Having a foundation that they can build on as they go through life and understand what’s happening around them.”

Sonia is well known by AITC-M staff as a dedicated volunteer across many programs. Adelle Gervin, a program manager at AITC-M, loves how Sonia both volunteers and supports the organization’s mission.

“Sonia’s passion for agriculture and love for canola is very apparent when you watch her present. It takes a special person to engage an audience of elementary students and Sonia does it with ease!”

Volunteers like Sonia are important in spreading our story to the next generation and in facilitating agriculture education. Those involved in the agricultural industry, like Sonia, can provide valuable knowledge to students. Sonia encourages those with experience in the industry to get involved.

“Be curious to learn more about the large part of Manitoba’s economy, get involved, and ask questions.”

Interested in making a difference in agricultural education? Sign up to be an AITC-M volunteer!